Reviews of Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

    Find out more about Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido in the Basenotes Fragrance Directory


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    sjg3839's avatar

    United States United States

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    Didn't take long to remember what AS smelled like. AMBRE RUSSE hit me after about 10 minutes of applying. This stuff is great. The first few minutes gave me the impression that a mistake was made purchasing AS. That impression didn't last long. You get that skankiness in the initial spray.Other than Musc Ravageur, this fragrance turns from horrible to great in a matter of minutes. You don't have to wait until the drydown to get this effect though. 8.5/10

    16 September, 2014

    tdwctdwc's avatar



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    Faultless perfect amber goodness.

    Nothing needs to be added or tweaked in neither smell nor performance for me. No 'i wish', No 'if only'. Just perfect.

    A beautiful blend of sweet resins and herbal aromatic reinforcements laying on a golden silky bed of amber and vanilla.

    Bay leaf and myrrh are the middle name here and are key components to the uniqueness of this beauty.

    It's funny the color of the juice is orange because that's how i exactly envision the smell of this scent: Sunkissed sweet resins melting and gently swirling in a form of orange/golden liquid on my skin.

    Who needs gourmands when you got this ?

    02 August, 2014

    Dmotron's avatar

    United States United States

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    Strong Amber, smokey and super super dry and very sweet. This one is pretty much linear but is very challenging expectially at the beginning. It's name applies to what it is, Amber (or the king of ambers if you will) and this is about as amber as you can get. Can come off as too mature (I see my grandmother wearing this). For me it's neutral but I still rate this a 4 out of star only because it's done so well as expected from this house and its what I expected. Amber fans may find this the holy grail for pure amber based frags.

    27 June, 2014

    Way Off Scenter's avatar

    United States United States

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    Genre: Oriental

    Ambre Sultan goes onto my skin as a chaotic miasma that manages to be excessively sour, sickly sweet, and bitter, all at the same time. I attribute this assault on the nostrils to the confluence of sharp, bitter oregano and the trademark Sheldrake/Lutens sweet amber accord. The two come at each other as mighty waves and collide with a titanic crash.

    The first few times I tried Ambre Sultan I was unable to endure this cacophony. Over the subsequent wearings I persevered long enough to enjoy the dusky, lascivious spiced amber accord at Ambre Sultan’s heart and the luscious sweet labdanum drydown, but wasn’t convinced that they were worth waiting for. It took several more widely spaced attempts before I decided that they were. My ultimate appreciation of Ambre Sultan is based on my understanding of why that unsympathetic opening may be necessary.

    For what it’s worth, here’s my theory: Like so many of the Serge Lutens oriental fragrances, Ambre Sultan flirts with being insufferably sweet. Unlike some of the others, it avoids plunging into a powdery-syrupy quagmire. How? I attribute Ambre Sultan’s success to the balancing influence of its sharp herbal and spice components. These hard-edged savory notes offset the amber’s potential to cloy at the nostrils. However, in order to endure and yield this effect at the heart of the scent, the relatively volatile sharp notes must be used in great concentration. The end result is a unique and beautifully balanced heart accord, but at the price of a sharp and confrontational opening. Given Serge Lutens’s penchant for provocative openings, this price seems very much in line.

    Patience with Ambre Sultan yields exceptional rewards, thanks to the scent’s enormous tenacity. For that first half an hour of confusion, I get as much as twelve hours of libido enhancing ambery goodness. The dry amber skin scent persists for even longer. It’s no surprise that such a long lasting fragrance is also very potent. I find Ambre Sultan overbearing and difficult to wear in high temperatures, and prefer to use it in controlled doses in any case. Besides strong projection, Ambre Sultan leaves a trail of abundant sillage, establishing an olfactory aura around its wearer.

    Are those top notes challenging? Yes. But Ambre Sultan remains a giant among amber scents. The only amber I’ve found that can hope to rival it is the very different, and less confrontational Ambre Precieux from Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier.

    08 June, 2014

    stargarden's avatar

    United States United States

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    This is one of the most delicious fragrances I have ever tried. As a fan of the amber style accord (what does amber truly smell like? it's a fossilized resin...) - this is quite possibly my favorite take on amber as of yet.

    What really impresses me with Ambre Sultan is the three-dimensional way the fragrance works on me. Up close I can smell the herbs/oregano/spice that some have noted - but a foot or so away I get the sweetness and syrup.

    I am just at the start of what may be a long fragrant journey for me, but the Serge Lutens fragrances I have started with are all quite good (AS, Chergui, Daim Blond) -- but Ambre Sultan has made it into my top five of all time pretty quickly. Seriously bottle worthy!

    19 March, 2014

    Kain's avatar

    Iran Iran

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    This is the third Serge Lutens fragrance that I'm testing.
    First one was Cuir Mauresque , second one was Chergui and now this one and I must say I'm quite impressed with all of them!
    It's a fragrance for women and I was expecting something very sweet and feminine, but dude is this really a fragrance for women?!
    I'm sure a man can wear it easily!
    The opening is very strong resinous spicy scent with some woods in the background.
    It does have a bitter spicy smell and I must say the opening is completely masculine! nothing feminine here!
    After a while and in the dry down, that resinous smell settled down a bit and spicy scent became a little stronger. I can smell some kind of dirty animalistic feeling too but it's weak.
    Now you can feel also some sweetness that gave the scent a really nice kick!
    In the base you have a sweet (but not too much) yummy scent with some spices and that resinous and animalistic smell completely in the background.
    It's quite sensual and beautiful.
    Projection is above average and longevity is good.
    It's a great quality fragrance that you can easily put unisex sticker on it!
    I love it.

    07 February, 2014 (Last Edited: 16 February, 2014)

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    To me, this is *the* quintessential smoky, boisé, herbal amber scent. Simple, powerful, perfect, elegant.

    10/10

    09 January, 2014 (Last Edited: 03 August, 2014)

    JackTwist's avatar

    United States United States

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    For me this opened with a strong pleasant burnt caramel blast, followed closely by the central amber. Cedar entered after ten minutes and a slightly acrid vetiver note joined it. A dry herbal note then appeared (thyme?). After half an hour the overall effect was that of being in a small chapel where the smoke of a fine incense floated in the space.

    The incense note is dry and dusky, not sweet.

    My partner's reaction to it was that of a dusty, dry amber with a bouquet garni herbal note. He detected a wood note, but did not believe it was cedar. He would have liked it better if there was a more pronounced sandalwood/frankincense presence. Overall he found it to be dry, powdery, linear and herbal/amber.

    After an hour both our skins smelled of "a cedar box in which amber and frankincense had been stored."

    My summation is that of a very nice amber incense, but nothing outstanding or revolutionary. Recommended as a good purchase if you are fond of the amber/incense notes.

    24 December, 2013

    promqueen's avatar

    United States United States

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    Just got a sample of this and am very pleasantly surprised..I am female and don't usually like "unisex" scents but this is somehow different. A fine amber and woods in good proportion with an incense note. USE SPARINGLY however.

    03 November, 2013

    uhbhatti88's avatar

    Pakistan Pakistan

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    Aromatic Amber

    A straight amber with all it's sweetness and warmth tempered by herbs, very much in the tradition of Arab flavours: this has a very familiar Moroccan orange/cinnamon sweet tea aspect that lulls me into comfort, as it gets rounder and smoother with time.

    Excellent longevity and no feminine predisposition.

    Pros: Wonderful herbal warmth
    Cons: -"

    04 October, 2013

    Cannes's avatar

    United States United States

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    Dry and Dirty Amber

    I love ambers so I didn't feel I was taking a huge risk blind buying Amber Sultan. Initially, it's all amber to me. But after a few hours, it turns drier, sweatier, and dirtier...perfect for nighttime activities.

    23 September, 2013

    Francolino's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Some Candy Talking

    Wonderful take on Amber, rather linear but spicy over the top and on my skin smells like dry citric peels!

    First line in my wardrobe! Forget all the snobbery put on this piece of Art!

    Pros: Heavy sillage and duration
    Cons: None"

    13 September, 2013

    Quartz's avatar

    United States United States

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    Strong Vanilla Note

    I sampled this one and have to say that while it smells nice, it's pretty strong on the vanilla drydown. Although I've seen it listed as a unisex fragrance, I think it leans more to the feminine side. Very good projection and longevity (still strong after 9 hours) but, for me, it's a little too strong on the vanilla and overall a bit too sweet for my taste.

    Pros: Longevity is excellent
    Cons: A bit too sweet"

    12 August, 2013

    tempest moon's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Fire & Herbs

    This is a superb scent. My first impression upon sampling was a very herbal, medicinal vibe which immediately hit me upon application. However this is not a bad thing, as it gradually settled into a very warm and aromatic herbal dry down. I think this scent is very, very well made and it reminds me of incense and herbs (but not in an overwhelming way), just in a really well blended sense. Depending on your tastes, I would suggest trying or sampling at least once to appreciate this (especially in the dry down). Overall it’s extremely well made. If you appreciate Serge Lutens I think this is one of his best.

    Pros: Projection, sillage and longevity
    Cons: Overwhelming in excess

    30th May, 2013

    jbthorpe's avatar

    United States United States

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    I am normally not a big amber fan - heavy amber fragrances tend to nauseate me and give me a migraine. Having said that, to this day I'm not sure why I like Ambre Sultan so much. It is a gorgeous amber/incense fragrance that would smell equally as good on a man or woman. The amber is sweet and smooth and I find myself really enjoying the wafts of it that hit my nose throughout the day. Rather than running and scrubbing the amber off my arm like I normally do with other fragrances, I find myself really attracted to the Ambre Sultan. It is a bit pricey but I think it is worth worth the cost.

    Sillage: 9/10
    Longevity: 9/10
    Price: 7/10

    02 May, 2013

    OdilonRedon's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    The opulent coppery gold of the liquid doesn't prepare you for the jagged herbs of the opening. This is like pushing through a thicket of sage and marjoram and thyme on a hot morning. Then the amber appears, huge and almost stark: not sweet or cuddly amber but a salty, unpolished gem washed up on a beach. A thread of incense eventually appears and adds an extra dimension. This is a truly amazing fragrance.

    08 April, 2013

    rbaker's avatar



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    The top note is characterised by a beautiful amber impression, that is deep, rich, intense, and less sweet than many of it's counterparts; a truly wonderful note.  After about a hour, however, it collapses on my skin and says very close to it, a mere shadow of its glorious debut.  Overall longevity of about four hours, and the positive rating is based mainly on the top note. 

    10th February, 2013

    Kingpharroh's avatar



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    Ambre Sultan starts off with a very weird smelling oregano note which is kind of off-pudding to say the least. Reminds me of Italian food and seems likes it's out of place especially with an amber fragrance. Dry herbs mixed with amber /vanilla/ bezoin usually don't mix. Do you sprinkle oregano and other dry herbs on vanilla ice cream? Don't think so. Anyway, after the stench of greeness finally dies down, a semisweet amber comes up through the ashes. The scent has a very pleasant and tolerable sweetness without becoming cloying or headache inducing. Downsides: very poor longevity, sillage, and projection. Lasts about 3 hours on my skin, with projection being a mere 30 minutes or less. Verdict:BUY/TRY/PASS . I say TRY.I think there are better smelling ambers on the market that smell better and last a lot longer. Not bad, but it's far from great.

    08 December, 2012

    juan pablo kelly's avatar



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    Amazing. One of the first scents that I became obsessed with, even fantasized about. I remember smelling it when it first was released back in the early 90s. Couldn't afford it or get it (this was before it was available in the states). Mysterious, sensuous, just more of everything compared to so many fragrances on the market at that time - and really the beginning of the niche category in a true sense. Its a heady amber with spice, yes like an exotic bazaar but so much more. Yes some of the Lutens are unwearable but this is not one of them. I finally purchased it more than a decade later on a trip to NY. Worth the wait. It is not for the faint of heart or the shy, retiring type. It is a scent of style and confidence, and extreme sensuality.

    02 December, 2012

    timdoeswell's avatar

    Australia Australia

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    Ambre Sultan has captured EXACTLY what it was going for - a bone-dry amber fragrance that brings to mind a middle-eastern bazaar.

    Resinous with loads of sandalwood and coriander, this really pushes the boundaries of what western perfumes do with amber accords.

    Surprisingly, this fragrance works extremely well in the heat (as it also does in cooler weather) and makes a nice change to the generic aquatics that are mostly used in stiflingly hot weather.

    To me this scent is just a little linear to make it a must-buy, but if you truly appreciate the amber accords that are so often ruined by fragrance houses, you'd do well to sniff this out.

    16 November, 2012

    the reaper's avatar

    Venezuela Venezuela

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    This stuff is strong. At the beginning it smells like something strongly medicinal but about 3 hours later it transforms into a beautiful incense fragrance.

    31st October, 2012 (Last Edited: 15 September, 2014)

    's avatar



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    Amazing, innovative and unique smell. Lots of dry spices in the opening, then dries down to a beautiful sweet amber. If you survive the first 30 minutes, you'll LOVE this fragrance.

    29 October, 2012

    Possum-Pie's avatar

    United States United States

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    Amber, dry, less incense than spice. Nice but not for me.

    09 September, 2012

    D.Sprad's avatar

    United States United States

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    The Sultan and I didn't used to agree. It was once one of the very few fragrances that inspired a headache in me, that I found unpleasant in aroma and too heavy. I'm not certain what caused the turn-around, but after a long while away from the scent, I revisited it and enjoyed it immensely. It's marked one of the biggest turnarounds for any fragrance I've encountered.

    It really ought to reinforce the thought that something should never be written off based on initial impressions. This one deserves firm testing, breaks, and re-testing before any conclusions should be made on it. One just might find their tastes toward it completely reverse, whether that be for the better or the worse.

    24 June, 2012

    starshipvelcro's avatar

    United States United States

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    I'm apologizing beforehand...but I have to bring this down a peg. This fragrance is single-handedly responsible for ruining amber notes for me for a half a year. What was the problem? THE HERBS! Something about the medicinal herbs and the overbearing amber pounding my head relentlessly, it made me sick. Then every amber made me feel sick. Be careful with this stuff, if it doesn't agree with you it will stick around and haunt you.

    Honestly I can't even properly review this because I won't subject myself to this again, but this is truly one of my most hated scents. Amber and green herbs that shouldn't be there, that's what this is to me.

    12 June, 2012

    icanzapyou's avatar

    United States United States

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    I just don't get it. I don't dislike this scent, but I never want to smell like this. There's this pack of herbs that they sell in the Chinese supermarkets that you boil to create this incredible, herbal broth. That's exactly what Ambre Sultan smells like. This is not a good thing. We've got an herbal, minty amber. The initial blast almost smells like spearmint gum, but then it breaks into that bizarre...

    TWO HOURS LATER: So it's two hours later and I'm returning to writing this review. Now that I've let this thing dry down, I must say that the dry down is beautiful and delicious. It's an excellent vanilla and herb mixture, which actually creates a chicken broth effect in the best possible way. I'm still a little ambivalent, but this is definitely a scent that gets better as time progresses.

    28 May, 2012

    Akahina's avatar

    United States United States

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    Lush, rich, long lasting and a great amber scent. I get amber, Myrrh and a bit of wood and spice. I don't think this one has great silage, but just enough, pretty close to perfect. After about 8 hours this is still going strong with very little change for me, but the slight change does bring on a sweeter amber accord, not too sweet, a masculine sort of sweetness that is tempered to just the right degree with what must be patchouli. the dry down is delicious and so sexy. Sort of close to the skin but I still get the feeling that others notice it because I do without smelling my arm. Is it possible to be subtle and intense at the same time? Perhaps "intense" is not the right word because this one hovers gently around me. I love this scent. Very sexy and about the best amber scent I have smelled. (20 hours later and I can still smell this on my skin. Lovely.)

    This is one I would love to own but of the Serge Lutens fragrances I have tried I have a very soft spot for Muscs Koublai Khan and that will be the first one from this house that I purchase, this will be the second.

    For women? I think anyone can wear this one.

    Update: I am in awe. I sprayed this on my arm yesterday, in fact 34 hours ago and I can still smell this faintly in my arm. Incredible. The scent is weak, but it is still there. I used another fragrance today but not on this arm. I can hardly believe how long this lasts. The ingredients must be very high quality. I can't tell you how much I love this one.

    20th April, 2012

    drseid's avatar

    United States United States

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    A very nice take on amber by Lutens here. Ambre Sultan opens with a ton of herbs and spice. At first I was afraid the spice might be a tad too much, but things soon get under control a few minutes into the scent's development. As the spices recede, the amber emerges to mingle with them in just the right proportions of spice to amber. The dry-down adds a bit of sandalwood to sweeten things a bit, but Amber Sultan never makes the mistake of a lot of other amber scents in being *too* sweet. Even in the dry-down remnants of the spice remains to keep things interesting. Projection is above average, as is longevity. Ambre Sultan is maybe not my absolute favorite amber scent, but it must be in the top three or four I have tried to date and is highly recommended and full bottle worthy, IMO. 4 stars out of 5.

    17 March, 2012 (Last Edited: 21st December, 2012)

    Birdboy48's avatar

    United States United States

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    Others are quick to mention the spices as the primary overlay to the amber in this now-classic frag, but I don't get those spices, and hope I'm not alone in smelling incense instead. This incense note persists for hours on my skin.

    Overall, dryer than it's cousin Arabie.

    Wonderful things, both of them, but watch out for over-application, as heavy-handedness can spoil their effects.

    13 March, 2012

    Jack Hunter's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    It opens up with a kitchen spice accord which slowly leads into a lovely sweet amber. I like the amber part but just not too keen on smelling kitchen spices on my skin.

    04 February, 2012

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